Rear View: The Small Faces Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake


It took a remark in a Facebook conversation from long lost acquaintance Bloke Nicknamed Rubbish By JB to remind me of a glaring omission from the list of Rear View projects that was glaring enough to be addressed ASAP. In some ways, regardless of labelling, this is a Retrospective since it's a case of looking back over a relatively brief career from the lofty heights of a major but largely ignored masterpiece. And in some ways, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake is one of those watershed landmarks that separate the classic singles era from around 1965 to 1969 from the album-dominated years that followed.

I've remarked on the musical landscape of the mid-sixties before, and will doubtless return to the subject in the future, but there are a couple of salient points that need to be reiterated before we can get around to looking at this classic album as a landmark watershed (or whatever other term you care to apply). For a start we're talking a musical era that was dominated, at least as far as the teenage punter was concerned, by the interaction of the charts, the radio and the dance floor. 

Second, as far as recorded music was concerned, if you wanted to play a song it was a case of going over to the record player and physically putting the disk into the machine. Sure, if it had a built-in stacker/changer you could take a number of disks, pile them up and let them rip, but we're talking about an environment that's a million miles removed from loading a couple of thousand tracks into your MP3 player, selecting shuffle and hitting the forward button if what's playing doesn't float your current existential boat.

Third, as far as the industry (by which we mean the conjunction of artist management, record companies, music publishers and associated hangers on) was concerned, success was largely based around the interaction between the quantity of product you could generate and the market's ability to absorb it.

Here's how I see it anyway.

Everything was based around the hit single, which was everybody's bread and butter and needed to be delivered at least three or four times a year in a career that was only going to continue if you could keep on delivering chart hits.


B© Ian Hughes 2012